The next day I walked to the bus stop to catch the San Francisco Transbay bus. It was a pleasant walk through my son’s older residential neighborhood. The bay area is already in bloom – a good month or more ahead of Seattle. I arrived at the bus stop in plenty of time. Once the bus came we crossed San Francisco Bay Bridge in the sunshine. The bus dropped me at the Transbay Terminal – just across the bay from Oakland and in the middle of the financial district. My destination was a lunch engagement with a long time girlfriend who lives and works in San Francisco. Her office is close to the Coit Tower and by my reckoning about a twenty to thirty minute walk.
Walking in San Francisco is always fun and especially so on a sunny day. The city brims with energy and purpose. Virtually every block holds some sort of architectural and historical interest. I walked north, paralleling the Embarcadero, along Beale Street and Battery. I had time to kill prior to our meeting and I wandered aimlessly through the shops in Embarcadero Square and zigzagged the various streets, past small curio shops, restaurants and taverns gearing up for the lunchtime business. I passed many pedestrians – everyone looked energetic and purposeful – busily talking to each other in apparent walking meetings; often grouped in twos and threes; all smartly dressed.
|Coit Tower seen from below|
The higher I got, the more people I encountered. Clearly most people walk down the steps rather than climbing up. It was an interesting mixture of people – many tourists like me – several Australians looking very fit in sensible shoes and several families with young children perhaps on spring break. One family struck my interest. The father was smoking and the distinct smell of Cannabis wafted up the walkway. The young son, about six or seven clearly smelled it and asked his mother insistently, what is that smoke? I smell smoke. His mother didn’t answer him directly. Instead she tried to distract his attention by pointing out the flowers. But he was simply not interested at all. After failing to get a satisfactory answer from his mother, he caught up with his father and asked the same questions. It seemed ridiculous to me that the father was hiding the cigarette in his cupped hand. Clearly the child knew the father was smoking. The family group stopped and I passed by without hearing the resolution.
|Looking through the Redwoods|